Saturday, March 22, 2008

Princesses In the News

This week has seen a couple of long forgotten Princesses making news:

New Tomb For Altai Princess
From an article from RIA Novosti:
"A tomb to house the remains of a woman found after being preserved in ice for 2,500 years will be built in Siberia's Altai Republic, the director of a local museum said on Thursday.

The well-preserved remains of the woman dubbed the Altai Princess were discovered in the region by a team led by a Novosibirsk archeologist in 1993 near the Mongolian border, and have been studied at the Archaeology and Ethnography Institute in Novosibirsk.

Residents of Altai, where shamanism is still widespread, had repeatedly called for the body's return to its homeland, and blamed the removal for earth tremors and other natural disasters.

However, Novosibirsk scientists had been reluctant to return the body, saying local museums did not have the necessary facilities to preserve it.

"A decision has been taken to build a sloping building for the mummy, resembling a burial mound. This will be an extension to the main building of the national museum" in Gorno-Altaysk, the museum director said.

The body will now be housed in a state-of-the-art glass temperature-controlled case. Construction work should be finished by the end of this year.

Russian state natural gas giant Gazprom has contributed about $11 million to the reconstruction of the museum, and the building of the tomb and sarcophagus, the head of the republic, Alexander Berdnikov, said earlier.

Scientists have no information on the actual history of the Altai Princess, but DNA tests and facial reconstruction have suggested she was ethnically European."

Russian Princess Dies For Soldier's Love
From the UK Telegraph:
"Princess Helena Davidovna Palavandova was 27 when she died a year after following her husband, the Somme veteran Lendon Fitz Payne, to Britain.

Descendants of the princess's late husband found that she lay in an unmarked grave. They have now travelled from far and wide to commemorate her and mark her plot.

They explained how the young royal fell in love with the soldier after escaping from her Russian home.

Princess Helena was born in Georgia in 1898 but had to flee when her family home was burned down and her mother killed by a mob when she was eight years old.

She ended up living in Constantinople, then part of the Ottoman Empire, where she met the soldier with the Royal Corps of Signals, who hailed from Leeds, West Yorks.

The pair married at the British Embassy in 1923 and arrived back in Leeds in 1925. Their only child, David, was born the following year but Helena died from tuberculosis, aged 27.

She was buried in an unmarked plot in Harehills Cemetery, Leeds.

All she left was a single photograph, a pair of David's bootees and a small painting."

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